Paper Gossip: Wenger's Best and Worst, Reds and United Eye Deals and More

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2014

Paper Gossip: Wenger's Best and Worst, Reds and United Eye Deals and More

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    There will be a major landmark this weekend, when Arsene Wenger takes charge of his 1000th Arsenal game.

    As such, there’s plenty of Wenger-related content in the papers.

    That’s not to say everyone else is ignored. The transfer window is some way off, but there is speculation involving the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.

    All this and more feature in Friday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.

Wenger's Best and Worst XIs

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    Arsene Wenger will take charge of Arsenal for the 1000th time when they face Chelsea on Saturday.

    This sort of milestone gives editors plenty of ammunition to fire, and the Mail have not disappointed.

    As well as running a video piece with a host of big names paying tribute to Wenger, they have used columnist Martin Keown to pick his best Wenger XI.

    In Keown’s opinion, an ultimate Wenger side would be: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Sol Campbell, Tony Adams, Ashley Cole, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry.

    Being a former player, it appears Keown did not want to put the boot into other professionals.

    The Mail used the occasion to pick Wenger’s worst XI, and here’s Phil Duncan’s take: Richard Wright, Sebastien Squillaci, Andre Santos, Igors Stepanovs, Mikael Silvestre, Andrey Arshavin, Jose Reyes, Junichi Inamoto, Gervinho, Francis Jeffers, Park Chu-young.

Liverpool Train Sights on Rodrigo

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    Liverpool are firmly in the Premier League title mix, but they are also planning for the future.

    Transfers might not be a priority right now for Brendan Rodgers, but they are bubbling under the surface and a player in his gaze is Benfica’s Rodrigo Moreno.

    The Mail’s Laura Williamson claims Manchester United, Chelsea and West Brom posted scouts at Benfica’s game against Tottenham on Thursday.

    If Rodrigo was the object of desire, it was a fruitless trip as he was an unused substitute.

    But the player was still a topic of debate, with Williamson reporting Benfica boss Jorge Jesus’ response to a specific question about Liverpool’s interest:

    It's normal. Every Benfica player is in a big window.

    The league is full of high quality players so it's normal for other clubs to be interested.

Flanagan Close to New Liverpool Deal

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    Liverpool may have eyes on new signings, but they are not ignoring issues closer to home.

    Jon Flanagan has been a revelation this season, and Reds boss Rodgers has confirmed the club will hand the young defender a new deal.

    Per a report from the Mail’s Dominic King, Rodgers said:

    He will be given a new contract definitely. He has been outstanding. 

    He reminded me of Steve Nicol against Manchester United on Sunday—a right-footed player on the left side, steady, aggressive, no fear; he's been a revelation, and particularly in the big games.

Courtois Green Light to Face Chelsea

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    The Champions League quarter-final draw takes place on Friday morning, which throws up a host of tantalising prospects.

    There is the potential for a matchup between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, which would pitch the Blues against their own keeper Thibaut Courtois.

    This prospect had journalists scrambling for confirmation as to whether Courtois, who is in his third season on loan at Atletico from Chelsea, would be eligible to play.

    Loan deals between Premier League clubs allow the owners to prevent their player competing against them. But the Mail’s Ashley Clements has confirmed UEFA has no such rule—which would enable Courtois to face Chelsea.

United Take a Look at Lovren

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    Manchester United are in need of an overhaul, that much is obvious following an abject defence of their Premier League title.

    Defensive rock Nemanja Vidic is heading for pastures new in the summer, while Rio Ferdinand also seems set to move on, meaning centre-backs will be needed.

    But who? Well, the Mail’s Sami Mokbel suggests Red Devils boss David Moyes will train his sights on the South Coast of England.

    Southampton have a host of top-class prospects, and Mokbel claims Dejan Lovren is in Moyes’ sights.

    In his piece, Mokbel claims United scouts have been impressed with Lovren while taking a look at another Saints defender in the shape of Luke Shaw.

Cavani Delivers United Snub

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    Moyes is likely to spend heavily in the summer, but not on Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani.

    The Star’s Jeremy Cross claims the forward has snubbed a move to Old Trafford, having initially been open to the prospect of a switch to Manchester United.

    In his piece, Cross wrote:

    United were willing to smash their transfer record to lure the Uruguay hitman to Old Trafford from Paris Saint Germain in an £80m deal.

    It is understood United bosses sounded out Cavani several months ago about a possible move and were willing to offer him a contract worth around £280,000-a-week.

    But Starsport can reveal Cavani has changed his mind and snubbed United because he reckons they are a club in decline.

Chelsea Face Falcao Disappointment

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    Also in his transfer column, Mokbel has an update on Radamel Falcao.

    For a player who is currently in the sick bay following a serious knee injury, there’s plenty of transfer chatter surrounding the Colombian striker.

    Chelsea have been persistently linked with Falcao, but Mokbel claims the Blues will be left disappointed in the summer.

    In his piece, Mokbel wrote:

    Radamel Falcao's Premier League suitors are set to be disappointed with the news that Monaco have no plans to sell their Colombian hotshot.

    The South American only moved to France last summer, but he has already been linked with a move away—with Chelsea and Manchester United among those monitoring his situation.

    But sources close to Monaco's summer transfer plans have told Sportsmail that there are no plans to sell or replace Falcao in the summer, with the Ligue 1 club instead focusing on strengthening the centre of their midfield.

City Set Sights on Keeper Sensation

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    Joe Hart may be back as Manchester City’s confirmed No. 1, but it seems manager Manuel Pellegrini is still not totally convinced by the England keeper.

    According to the Mirror’s Ed Malyon, Argentina youngster Geronimo Rulli is in Pellegrini’s sights.

    Rulli is in the fledgling stage of his career at 21, but Malyon claims the youngster has been attracting interest from a host of clubs—with Atletico Madrid and Porto ready to vie with City for the Estudiantes keeper.

Bits and Pieces: Torres' Atleti Link, Sherwood's Lineker Anger and More

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    The Mail's Kit Holden claims Bayern Munich star Xherdan Shaqiri is open to a move to England, according to his brother.

    Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has already started planning for a summer overhaul of his squad, according to the Star's Gary Jones.

    The Mirror’s Neil McLeman claims Chelsea’s Fernando Torres could be heading back to Atletico Madrid as part of a swap deal involving Diego Costa.

    Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood has fired back at Gary Lineker following the criticism of striker Roberto Soldado, per Paul Jiggins of the Sun (Subscription).